Fulbright grant for upper atmosphere work in Greece

September 04, 2002

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Michael C. Kelley, a professor in Cornell University's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been awarded a Fulbright grant to continue his upper-atmosphere research in Greece during the 2002-2003 academic year.

The grant is awarded by the U.S. Educational Foundation in Greece under the Fulbright Scholar Program, administered by the U.S. State Department.

Kelley is the James A. Friend Family Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Cornell and a former associate dean for professional development in the university's College of Engineering.

Since mid-July, Kelley has been capturing images of the Earth's upper atmosphere over Greece as part of a Fulbright program research project that has additional support from the National Science Foundation. He hopes to find clear evidence for waves traveling through the layers of the atmosphere and then see how those waves affect radar.

Recently, Kelley sent Cornell undergraduate Mike Nicolls to Greece to set up Kelley's traveling camera, called the Cornell All Sky Imager, to record images of storms in the lower ionosphere, the region of the atmosphere that is between 95 and 120 kilometers (or 59 to 75 miles) above the Earth. The camera captures nighttime images of airglow -- light that is given off by various chemical reactions in the upper atmosphere but is much too faint to be seen by the unaided human eye. The camera then transmits these pictures over the Internet so that Kelley's research team, Cornell doctoral students Jonathan Makela and Pamela Loughmiller, can analyze them remotely.

Greece was selected as a research site because of the opportunity it presents to combine the data collected by the camera with radar data collected by Kelley's Greek collaborator, Christos Haldoupis, professor of space sciences at the University of Iraklion, Crete.

Kelley is one of about 800 U.S. faculty members and professionals who will travel abroad to some 140 countries in the next academic year under the Fulbright Program.

Cornell University

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